Presidential panel: Reduce environmental cancer risks

Consumer Reports News: May 27, 2010 02:05 PM

A landmark report released recently by the President's Cancer Panel focuses on several ways consumers can reduce their exposure to hazardous chemicals, many of which Consumer Reports has suggested in the past.
In a section of the report called " What Individuals Can Do: Recommendations"  there are both warnings and key steps to take, especially to protect children who are singled out by the panel as being "far more susceptible to damage from environmental carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds than adults."
The measures recommended by the panel for individuals include:
  • Choosing foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines', and medical tests that will minimize children's exposure to toxins; in particular, endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens. Avoid them "prior to a child's conception and throughout pregnancy and early life, when risk of damage is greatest."
  • Filtering home tap or well water to "decrease exposure to numerous known or suspected carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals"
  • Storing and carrying water "in stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free or phthalate-free containers" to "reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting and other chemicals that may leach into water from plastics."
  • Microwaving food and beverages "in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers" to "reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may leach into food when containers are heated."
  • Choosing "foods grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizer and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues" to reduce risks.
  • "Properly disposing of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, paints, and other materials" to "minimize drinking water and soil contamination."
  • Choosing "products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally safe chemicals."
  • "Reducing or ceasing landscaping pesticide and fertilizer use" to "help keep these chemicals from contaminating drinking water supplies."
  • Reducing or eliminating "exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home, auto and public places."
  • Obtaining "counseling and medications to help smokers quit", which are covered by health insurance or available at little or no cost.
  • Periodically "checking home radon levels" ... new home buyers "should conduct a radon test in any home they are considering purchasing."
  • Avoiding "overexposure to ultraviolet light by wearing protective clothing and sunscreens when outdoors and avoiding exposure when the sunlight is most intense."
—Joyce Newman

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